The four Rota-based U.S. war-
ships, with upgraded BMD capabili-
ty, are intended to remain a vital part
of PAA at least until Phase 4. In a
written response to questions from
Seapower about whether they would
be needed after that, the Navy said it
“continually evaluates the impact of
new capabilities and how these may
affect force posture requirements.
These evaluations will include the
anticipated impact of the deploy-
ment of Aegis ashore.”
Boyd and others said forward bas-
ing the ships at the entrance to the
Mediterranean should be more effi-
cient by making ships more available
for the range of missions they could
perform in addition to BMD.
“Forward deploying these ships
in Spain places them in a position
to maximize their operational flexibility to conduct missions wherever they are needed in the area,”
Rota basing “will allow the United States to respond
more rapidly to a threat,” Tauscher told the Atlantic
Council. And “the wear and tear of deployment will be
But the idea of forward basing and the entire PAA
plan were questioned by some analysts.
Dov Zakheim, a Pentagon official for two Republican
administrations, said replacing Third Site with PAA
looks like a distinction between national missile defense
and NATO defense.
“The question is, is this the most efficient way to
shoot down a missile?” Zakheim said during the
Atlantic Council forum.
What happens if the BMD program cannot meet the
“rigid schedule” for deploying PAA? Or Iran speeds up
its missile program? he said.
Zakheim noted the SM- 3 IB test failure and said the
Pentagon told Japan it was delaying SM- 3 IIA production two years, to 2020.
“I hope Iran will agree to wait,” he said.
Zakheim also questioned whether NATO or the
United States could afford PAA with the planned budget cuts. He noted that support for missile defense is
“soft on the Hill,” citing the Senate Appropriations
Committee vote to remove SM- 3 IIB funding from the
fiscal 2012 defense bill.
But Tauscher praised the “tremendous success” in
NATO for PAA. She cited the decision at this year’s
NATO summit to establish missile defense as a primary
The Navy is providing an interim ballistic missile defense capability in Europe
with the deployment of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS
The Sullivans, which recently relieved the Aegis-equipped cruiser USS
Monterey. The Sullivans arrived at Marathi NATO Pier facility in Souda Bay,
Greece, Oct. 27, for a routine port visit.
mission, and the agreements by Romania, Poland and
Turkey to host PAA facilities.
“President Obama is committed to completing all
four phases,” she told the council forum.
But Gordon Adams, a former Office of Budget and
Management defense director, said the likelihood of
Congress approving forward basing of four ships
“depends on proving you can afford it.
“We get $5 billion is subsidies from Japan. I don’t
think Spain can afford to do that, with their current eco-
nomic crisis,” Adams told Seapower. “If it looks like it’s
going to cost more [than deployments], that would be a
real yardstick for Congress,” particularly in face of con-
gressional calls for reducing U.S. troops in Europe, he
added. “The political priority is going to be ‘bring them
home and put them in my district.’”
Norfolk, Va.-area lawmakers already are expressing
concern over losing ships, with the millions of dollars
in economic activity, to Rota.
And if the relocation requires military construction
funds, “it’s hard for me to believe that Congress would
allow big infrastructure improvements,” Adams said.
Boyd said Rota’s facilities “are well-positioned to
provide support capability for the ships and personnel.” But, he added, “plans have been developed for the
refurbishment and modifications that need to be made
to existing infrastructure to support the added requirement for office space, warehouse space, information
networks and quality-of-life services.” ;